Monday, October 26, 2009

The Daily Rag

I hear quite a bit these days about how newspapers are on the skids, and that they'll soon disappear altogether, replaced by superior methods of delivering the news.
Maybe it's showing my age to say so, but I think that would be a sad day. Yes, there are plenty of ways to get news, and plenty of ways to express your opinions besides an old-fashioned letter to the editor, no question.
I think that misses the point. To me, the value of a paper is in the things it includes that you're not looking for before you discover them. Just yesterday I saw a notice of a chiropractor I know who's joining the staff of an office located in a town a few miles south of ours. I had no idea.
Our local paper is really nothing special. But having said that, there's really a wealth of things there if you just know where to look. Who would have thought, for instance, that you can learn in the paper how to give CPR to your dog. Laying aside the question of whether you'd want to help Spot in his hour of need, there's even a picture included to show you how to go about it, from which I'm still a bit woozy.
The same issue of the daily rag showed what a 115 lb. halibut looks like between two smiling fishermen who won't go hungry for a long time. But the picture that impressed me most was of a 70 ft. blue whale which had not survived a run-in with a small ship used by a government agency precisely to keep track of these creatures. The whale had washed up on a beach, and the picture showed two men climbing on its remains. Sure, we've seen whales before, but usually not in proximity with things we already know the size of. In this case, the relationship of the two men to the carcass was about the same as that of cockroaches to an adolescent boy. I was amazed.
And there were even more amazing things in the sports section. One local football team thrashed another by the score of 72-o. The losing school proved the following week that the trouncing was no fluke, losing again, this time by 48-0. But the same school's girls soccer team handed out a pounding of its own, winning by 14-0. No wonder teenagers run the risk of mental instability. What if you were parents of student athletes on both teams? How would you deal with that? And what internet source would inform you that one football team's chief touchdown scorers are named Mohorovich and Vainuku, both no doubt strapping American youth?
Computers are fine, I guess. But I hope we never lose the daily paper with all the great detail it gives us of life we can get nowhere else. If I'm showing my age, well, I probably do that every week anyway. Who's got the comics?


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